2012 CEO Sleepout @ Carriageworks

On Thursday night 21 June - the winter solstice (shortest day of teh year) - I joined 278 CEOs at Carriageworks to sleepout and get an experience of what the thousands of homeless people in Australia experience every night. Oh - and raise money for Vinnies to help address this problem.

By the end of June I received 28 donations and raised $3,890! While this is not quite as much as Ian Narev ($172K +) or Gail Kelly ($135K +), I was really pleased. It was more than double the $1,650 I raised the previous year and made a good contribution to the total of over $5,000,000 that was raised from the event across Australia. Wow!

The night was really interesting. We all arrived at Carriageworks and found a spot on the pavement in the open area where the markets are held or on the driveway between there and Carriageworks. As it did not seem like it would rain, I chose to be outdoors thinking I could keep an eye on the stars.... Fortunately it clouded over which meant the night was not too cold. Nothing, however, could relieve the hardness of the paving as a sleeping surface....

After settling in we all gathered in the foyer of Carriageworks to get an introduction to the evening. We then had some dinner - soup and bread, with tea or instant coffee. This was a great time to meet our fellow CEOs. I had some great conversations with people such as Melina Schamroth from m.a.d.woman (making a difference), Tim Vadudeva from Animal Welfare League, John Nicolades from Bridge Housing, Mark Scott from the ABC, Steven Porges from Aussie, Malcolm Turnbull etc.

We then gathered again to hear from 4 clients of Vinnies. Amazing stories from people of astounding resilience overcoming unbelievable hardship every day of their lives just to live - let alone complete degrees as some had... Breaking into 20 groups, we then workshopped ideas for how we in our various roles and companies could do constructive things to help people in such positions. A final regathering allowed us to bid for some items in a couple of auctions and acknowledge the best fund raiser for the event.

Then - to bed! Some stayed an wandered around. I finally nestled into my warm sleeping bag and nodded off to varying degrees through the night. When I rose in the morning at 6am, most people had left (I think they went from 4am!). A few hardy people - including Gail Kelly to her credit - remained.

All in all I think it was very worthwhile. Even though we were warm(ish) and safe, a lot of people got a vague understanding of the reality of many people in our country. I hope we are able to now go out and make a difference.

Thanks to all those who made a contribution!

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